The new Will Smith movie that stars him and his
genetically replicated clone son, After Earth premiered in theaters Friday. What’s more interesting than the movie itself (currently a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes) is that even without M. Night Shyamalan’s name in the trailer the great Will Smith could not remove the stigma associated with the once promising director’s name.
After Earth’s budget is estimated at $130 million, which is not surprising considering its an action adventure film and has Will Smith’s paycheck of $20-30 million to deal with. However, after coming in third this past weekend at the box office with a disappointing $27ish million intake its already looking like a disaster. Especially when you consider that it lost out to Fast Six in its second week (despite its sharp -63.9% drop from last weeks intake) and to the more modestly budgeted magician movie Now You See Me. My point: it didn’t lose out to a big time Superhero movie, it got beat by two movies it was expected to beat. I don’t know why it failed, I really don’t need to know why it failed. Think about it like this: even John Carter, which was a historic flop out grossed it by about $3 million on its opening weekend. The difference: Will Smith should be able to out gross any Tim Riggins movie considering the fact that Taylor Kitsch went from budding star to praying that they make a new Friday Night Lights movie within the last year. So why didn’t it? As I said before, even Will Smith, the man who turned Hancock, a below average film (at best) into a $624 million grossing movie with just his name and a decent trailer, cannot save M. Night Shyamalan’s career.
Will Smith is unflopable, I would argue that he has never even had one a single flop as the lead actor of a film, until now. Shyamalan is on the other end of the spectrum, this can no longer be categorized as a slump, the guy just can’t hack it. Has a director ever started with this much success and had this much of a decline into nothingness? Find me one. Shyamalan’s first four films: The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village all grossed in the $250-$670 million range, hell even The Happening somehow grossed $163 million (for some reason a lot of people outside the US saw it) to which my natural response is:
Even as those films made money Shyamalan began to wear out his welcome with audiences as his movies became predictable and stupid with their twists. But now its gotten to a point where Sony purposely left name out of the trailers and advertisements for fear that the audiences stay away (their fears came true anyway). This comes after The Last Airbender was suppose to be three films until Paramount cancelled it after the first one underwhelmed mightily and when his name was openly booed/mocked in theaters when the Devil trailer premiered before Inception. And now having his biggest star he’s ever worked with and safest box office bet in Will Smith he has again failed to captivate audiences. I see dead a career and I’m not talking about Haley Joel Osment’s.